Question from LII Candidate

Apologize if these have been asked/answered elsewhere: - Would you guys be willing to briefly share any do/dont’s of LII strategy (eg must do EOC questions, order of SSs, time mgmt, anything else, diff strat than LI) that worked for successful candidates. - Also, I was wondering if 5 months (I basically started yesterday) are enough for solid LII preparation - others have talked about starting in late fall etc due to difficulty/rigor of Level II. Any successful candidates that started in January and felt 5 months was enough? Thanks in advance.

Absolutely do not ignore the text books. Just schweser is not enough. Also I felt that the schweser question bank was not very useful.

I felt that L2 was much more challenging than L1. The materials are more difficult and the exams will go into much more depth. I did almost all EOC questions. I tore them out of my books. I would take some questions with me to work and work on them on the train/over lunch. They are great for testing your understanding of the material. I don’t think the order of SSs matters. Brace yourself for Portfolio Management (think it is SS18) That was the toughest thing I’ve encountered in the CFA program. I definitely went light on stuff like Treynor Black, FUMCAR(or however the hell you spell it), ICAPM. After spending 2 weeks on this SS I basically said F!^* THIS and moved on. So I think if you are struggling with SS18, give yourself a break and don’t spend too much time on it. 5 month can be enough. There is no way to tell for sure because there are other factors. (such as your education background and amount of hours you study each day)

my thoughts/opinions: cfai eoc are a must qbank was good, but not as useful as for L1 5 months was enough for me don’t overlook anything - # of pages in the book has nothing to do with coverage on the test buying the practice exams off cfai website was a useless exercise i’m one of the anal guys who tracks his hours, and I put in just under 400 quality hours. i say quality because i didn’t count any time where i was zoned out or talking on the phone, etc.

thanks so much guys - very helpful. Any other LIII candidates want to add something?

I did Schweser for everything except Ethics – don’t skip the CFAI texts there. I did most of the CFAI EOC questions & lots of QBank (though it was really only helpful in the first run through the material). It is crucial to have enough time for practice exams (~1 month) so you can find out your weak areas and address them. I did horrible on my first practice exam, but by the last one I took a few days before the exam, I did really well, and felt confident. It’s also important to get a feel early on for the item set format of questions – it’s very different from L1.

I’m going to differ from the majority and say that Schweser was enough for me for L2. I did not touch the CFAI books. I did get <70% for Ethics, but that was the only section for which that was the case. Every question I saw on the June 2009 L2 exam was covered by Schweser material. My preparation material consisted of Schweser Notes, QBank, Secret Sauce, and the Schweser practice exams. I started studying when I got my December L1 results (late January), and put in maybe 150-200 hours. Since I did not read the CFAI text at all, I cannot say how it compares to Schweser material. However, after spotting the blatant error towards the end of the June 2009 L2 exam, my confidence in CFAI material has decreased. Schweser was adequate for me, though obviously, the same study material will not be suitable for everyone. I majored in Economics in college and have lots of experience in derivatives and quantitative finance. I have absolutely no training in accounting, financial statements, or fundamental valuation, other than what is in the CFA syllabus. It is good that you are looking for diverse opinions on CFA study material. I suggest that you compare your background to those of other people who express opinions here, so you can determine which advice is most applicable to you. Also, consider the risk/reward trade-off of each option. Passing the CFA exams is relatively inconsequential to me, so I chose the study material that I believed I could get through in the least amount of time, in order to preserve my work-life balance. If the CFA designation is extremely important to you, the most comprehensive option might be preferable to the most efficient option. Good luck, in any case. I’m sure that you will perform admirably regardless of which study material you choose.

Watch out for Research Objectivity in ethics. Schweser does a crappy job with it (super short) and the actual test hammered it last year. I didn’t use any CFAI books except for the EOC’s and I was more than fine. The main thing is to do as many practice exams as possible and use them to identify where to review. Don’t waste time on sections you crush. Whatever you do can work, you just need to put in the time.